Giulio Tremonti believes that the credit crunch has shown that austerity is now “a necessity and a responsibility”. The Minister for Economic Affairs, speaking at the Confcooperative association meeting, went on to say that “we realised that there was a need to do something to combat the crisis and that there was a need for change at European level. As a continent, Europe produces more debt than wealth, greater deficit than GDP. We realised that things could not go on this way. The world could not carry on as before and had to change”.